'I thought I was having another stroke:' Police mistook blind double stroke victim's white stick for a samurai sword and shot him in the back with a 50,000-volt Taser gun


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The Independent Online

A 'terrified' blind man thought he was going to die when police shot him in the back with a 50,000-volt Taser gun after mistaking his white stick for a samurai sword.

Double stroke victim Colin Farmer was on his way to meet friends at a pub in Chorley, Lancashire at 5.45pm last Friday when a police officer approached him from behind, shouted for him to stop, then shot him with the Taser.

The 61-year-old thought he was being attacked by muggers and cried out “I’m blind, I’m blind” as he collapsed on the floor, but was still handcuffed by the Lancashire Police Officer.

Police had originally been called to the street after receiving reports of a man armed with a deadly martial arts weapon walking around the town centre.

The officer involved claims he called to Mr Farmer to stop, but when he carried on walking, the officer fired his weapon.

Mr Farmer was taken to hospital for treatment and later released, but claims the force used in the arrest left him bruised, and broke a family heirloom bracelet which had belonged to his grandfather during the First World War.

The retired company director, who has suffered two strokes in the past, claims the Taser could have killed him, and said he wants the officer responsible "sacked, charged and locked-up" after his "real-life nightmare".

"This Taser could have killed me and if something happens to me as a result of the shock I got, I hope the officer will be done for manslaughter...I'm now scared of walking on my own outside now and so jumpy I have not been sleeping since."

The father of five, who has two grandchildren and reportedly walks "at a snail's pace", has made a formal complaint and said he intends to take legal action against Lancashire Constabulary, which has issued an apology and launched an investigation.

Telling the Daily Mail about the frightening situation, Mr Farmer said: "I was honestly going to die and they were going to kill me. All my muscles turned to dust and I thought I was having another stroke."

"In my opinion this officer was a man on a mission he was going to use that gun no matter what. The stress of this could still kill me in six months if I have another stroke and the police would have blood on their hands."

Lancashire Police has said it "extremely sorry" for putting Mr Farmer through the "traumatic" experience, with Chief Superintendent Stuart Williams of Chorley Police said the matter had been referred to the Independent Police Complains Commission.

He added that officers attended to Mr Farmer 'straight away' when it became apparent he was not the offender they were looking for.

"Officers have remained in contact with him and his family over the past few days to enquire about his recovery and we will continue to keep in touch with him and keep him informed of our inquiry."

Following the incident a 27-year-old man was arrested in Chorley on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon, but later released without charge.